We are celebrating Bryan Scot Barker’s 23rd Birthday this week!

Every birthday milestone of his is especially poignant to me and not simply because I love Fall and its wondrous colors and scents.

Because I am reminded of what we went through together when I was pregnant with him. The words still haunt me… “That little lump is malignant, you have breast cancer”… “You need to terminate this pregnancy Mrs. Barker to save yourself”… “If you don’t, we can’t predict how your baby will be affected by your harsh cancer treatments”… “He may be small”… “He may be slow”… “We just don’t know”….

Yes, initially I was faced with an ultimatum that no mother ever wants to think about. “Do you save your baby or yourself?” Thankfully, I sought a second opinion that offered us another choice – Have the mastectomy to first assess the stage of the cancer, and then decide upon treatment.

Some may say that I spared his life during our ordeal together. But actually, it is he who saved my life!

If it weren’t for my pregnancy care with Bryan, I know that I would have ignored that lump in my breast. I was still grieving for Lauren. My melancholy about her nasty hospital death and botched health care had me disenchanted with medicine. Yes, it is Bryan and a total stranger named Rhonda who saved me from a likely fatal disaster with breast cancer. Rhonda is just one of the many mystical guardian angels who intervened on my behalf as told in my story.

The miracle of Bryan’s healthy birth and life is one of the dramatic points of my book. He was literally along for the ride while I was pregnant enduring a major surgery (my mastectomy), and then being exposed to harsh chemotherapy in my last trimester.

Fast forward now to the present… He has defied the dire predictions and the odds! He’s not small – he’s 6’2” and is a varsity athlete. He’s not slow – he graduated from The University of Penna. & earned a full scholarship to University of VA to pursue his doctorate in neuroscience. More importantly though, he is one genuinely sincere person! Perhaps his research will one day save or better lives.

And perhaps our story of courage and faith together in CCCC will offer hope to those who meet dire circumstances. It is conceivable that my book may inspire others to do as I did by trusting my instincts and by drawing on my inner personal strength to pull me through a great deal of adversity.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not thankful for all that I am blessed with, especially for my children, including my angel in heaven. It’s a common thread with other cancer survivors that I meet. We’ve been humbled by our experience and we have learned to appreciate the good things in life.

Take time this week to enjoy the change of season and the beauty that surrounds you.